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Monday, October 19, 2009


In this official Department of Defense photograph, taken by Staff Sergeant Andrew Smith, United States Army, soldiers with Apache Troop, First Squadron, Fortieth Cavalry Regiment, and Afghan Border Police walk along a mountain trail during a patrol near Combat Outpost Herrera in the Paktiya province of Afghanistan Tuesday 13 October 2009.

For a larger view, click on the picture.

As I look at this photograph, a couple of things stand out.

First, they're wearing the Twenty-Fifth Infantry Division "Tropic Lightning" patch, with an "AIRBORNE" tab!

When I was in Viet Nam, the Twenty-Fifth Infantry Division was not an airborne unit, so things have changed.

The Twenty-Fifth Division's nickname is "Tropic Lightning", but because of the design of their insignia, and in keeping with the psychedelic drug culture of the Nineteen Sixties, troops sometimes jokingly referred to it as the "Electric Strawberry".

Also notice the dog tag laced into the point man's boot.

We learned to do that in Viet Nam.

Another thing I noticed in this picture was the Afghani troops have their weapons at "sling arms", instead of in the "ready" position, and they're positioned in the center of the patrol, so the Americans can keep a watchful eye on them.

It's just like Viet Nam all over again.

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